June 26th saw a pair of red panda cubs join the family at Lincoln Park Zoo. The new arrivals are a first for the zoo.
“We are ecstatic to welcome the two red panda cubs to the world but, as with any birth, are cautiously optimistic,” said Curator of Mammals Mark Kamhout. “The first weeks are critical as there are many vital milestones the little ones must cross.”
The cubs are currently tucked away in their den with mother, Leafa where they will remain for several months. They appear to bonding well with mum displaying all the correct maternal instincts.
This breeding comes following a recommendation from the Red Panda Species Survival Plan which seeks to increase genetic diversity of this species in captivity.
As they are in the den keepers have not been able to determine their gender. They are watching them through a camera system which has been installed there. It will be a few months before they emerge and will go on exhibit with their father Phoenix.
“The cubs are an estimated four or five ounces at birth and are covered in a pale yellow fur,” added Kamhout. “Red panda cubs’ eyes remain closed at birth and they rely solely on their mother for care and survival. They will begin to open their eyes around three weeks old.”
Photo Credit: Lincoln Park Zoo